||Result: Won by 2 wkts (20pts)
||Welney:163-8 (39.3 overs)
||Bircham:162-7 (40 overs)
LAST GASP WINNER - “WIDE BALL”)
Finally for the first time this season a glorious sunny day, played at Bircham, the club’s furthest trip away in the league.
The omens were looking good when skipper Jon Loveday won the toss (also for the first time this season) and invited the home side to bat first.
Opener R. Preston (59) and No.4 R. Tuck (48) made Croft’s bowlers work hard for their returns and added 67 for their 3rd wicket partnership. The then total of 125 for 3 wkts after 29 overs was the foundation of a possible 200 plus score?
However Croft’s quickies Saberton, Herselman & Dale all bowled their allotted 10 overs and the remaining batsmen were never comfortable and able to build a match winning score (only 28 runs were scored in the final 10 overs)
Bowling - Steve Saberton 1 for 37, John Loveday 1 for 14, Lawrence Herselman 3 for 31, Jon Dale 2 for 37, Viral Patel 0 for 36
After the tea interval John Gill and Neil Parkinson shared in the season’s biggest opening stand of 97, just failing to reach the magical 100, when J. Dean had Gill caught by the wicket keeper in the 28th over, with 66 required from the remaining 12 overs.
The required run rate had slowly crept up to 5.5 runs per over and urgent action needed to restore hopes of getting into a winning position.
Lawrence Herselman soon made his intentions clear with a huge 6 across the longest boundary, unfortunately he was bowled by Tuck, 3 balls later in the same over. John Hunt (3) and Steve Saberton (0) came and went quickly in the quest for runs. The 7th wicket partnership between Jon Dale (18) and Viral Patel (15 n.o) was the decisive partnership in adding 37 runs, bringing the total to 154, just 9 runs short of victory.
Being behind the run rate for so long Croft were now in the driving seat having to face the final over, requiring just one run to secure victory and with 3 wickets in hand. Then new bowler Riches had John Loveday caught at mid-off first ball - 2 wickets and 5 balls remaining and the tension was growing. Percy Bulsara then entered the affray, surviving the second ball and then the most unlikely way of winning – the umpire calling “wide ball”!
Thus enabling Viral and Percy to return to the pavilion, the match having been won by 2 wickets.
Croft recorded a ‘double’ – a much closer match than the 7 wicket win at Welney earlier in the season.
John Gill 45 (6 x 4’s), Neil Parkinson 38 (1 x 4), Jon Dale 18 (1 x 4), Viral Patel 15 (2 x 4’s)
Team - John Loveday (captain), Neil Parkinson, John Hunt, Stephen Kent,
Jon Dale, Steve Saberton, Viral Patel, Percy Bulsara, Lawrence Herselman
John Gill & Tom King.